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Operational Audit of Collections & Technical Services

Calgary Public Library

Problem Statement

The Operational Audit of Collections & Technical Services was undertaken to identify and articulate the functions of a collections and technical service unit in a large urban public library, assess current performance, address emerging trends, and define best practices, alternative business models and opportunities for improvement in all aspects of selection, acquisition, cataloguing and processing of materials, both physical and virtual. Part of CPL’s commitment to continuous improvement, the audit outlined a clear path for business transformation and sustainability, helping position CPL as a leader in the management and delivery of public library services.


The audit identified a number of opportunities for innovation which:

  • Take advantage of new technologies to support the selection process. CPL is the first Canadian site for collectionHQ, for example
  • Enhance the online catalogue for access and discovery of resources in all formats and programs
  • Increase awareness and use of digital resources, including through marketing and programming
  • Expand the range of library materials which float
  • Identify finding systems other than DDC for new models of branch service delivery
  • Permit the direct transfer of data from Symphony into the Library’s financial information system
  • Expand the range of services and projects purchased from external service providers
  • Restructure and rename the unit to Access and Discovery, reduce repetitive transactions, and increase value-added activities by staff
  • Strengthen its customer-centred mandate
The audit process itself was also innovative, bringing together a cross-functional team including a junior Manager, as part of her leadership development.


Implementation of recommendations began in 2010, to be completed in 2011. $400,000, including resources associated with 7.7 FTE will be available for reallocation, nearly 25% of the original staff complement.